Employee Stories

Employee Stories – Jack Payne


Four years with Active Tree Services has allowed Englishman Jack Payne to explore parts of Australia even the locals don’t know and get up close and personal with almost every native animal in the wild. It’s a far cry from his home town of Lincolnshire, but an opportunity he wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Jack is based around Melbourne working on a variety of energy contracts as a lead climber. His main role is clearing vegetation around power lines, and it’s taken him from Victoria to South Australia, and New South Wales.

“I’ve got to see the countryside and so much of Australia,” he explains. “Some days we’re in the bush chain sawing mature trees, some days we’re using hand secateurs in people’s gardens. The variety of this job is great.”

And it was an opportunity that arose by use chance, courtesy of a friend.

After graduating from arboricultural college, Jack had been working in and out of the tree industry as the economic downturn in the UK saw job opportunities dry up.

“One of my friends recommended Active to me, so I sent them an email asking about hiring. After a few more emails and a Skype interview, I landed a job. I’d been to Australia backpacking when I was younger, so it was familiar and the job prospects here were better.”

Jack packed up his belongings, shifted across the globe and began his role with Active, encountering more than a few familiar faces along the way.

Jack and a true Aussie friend

“There’s quite a few English people working for Active. I’ve worked with two other friends from arboriculture college and at one point there were four of us including a couple of people I’d worked with in England.”

While Jack’s enthusiastic about the variety of the role, he also appreciates the company ethos, noting the Victorian contracts have grown vastly in his time.

“That’s nice to be a part of,” Jack explains. “It’s changed a terrific amount, increasing in size, scope and staff, and it’s fantastic to have a proactive, organised management team.”

The team work in general is something Jack values about the job. He recalls a particular project in his second year as one of the best examples of how rewarding a group effort can be.

“We were working to new specifications and there was a real drive to get it done on time,” Jack explains. “Everyone was on the same page and as a team we pushed to complete the works in a group effort. It was really satisfying.”

When it comes to challenges, Jack says as an Englishman who used to work on ice-laden trees, he can hardly complain about the weather, but he concedes rainy days can be a “bit miserable” climbing trees.

He also notes it’s a role where safety needs to be front of mind.

“It’s a physical job. You have to be aware of injury, and continually mindful that a long-term injury is not good for your current work or your future. It’s a dangerous job too, but those dangers are well managed.”

As for the future, Jack says his is with Active indefinitely.

“I’m very happy with Active,” he states. “It’s the longest job I’ve had and that’s tantamount to how much I enjoy it.”